Ok, so you’re lifting regularly at the gym and are following a challenging physical routine of cross-training and strength training. That’s a great first step in your fitness journey, but if your goal is to build muscle, you need to put the same effort into your diet as you do on the bench. Whether you’re new to lifting or are an advanced bodybuilder, a BODYPUMP™ junkie, or an avid yogi, the most important routine for building a strong, healthy lean body is nutrition.
Your body needs the proper macronutrients and micronutrients to perform at its absolute best. Not even the latest workout class or world’s best trainer can reverse the damage caused from a bad diet. So put down that protein bar, turn off the blender, and read about these top vitamins and supplements and what they do for your active lifestyle.
If you’re looking to develop the absolute maximum muscle and bulk, you’ll want to check out the article detailing The Best Supplements to Build Muscle for useful information about creatine, BCAAS, beta-alanine, and more useful nutrition tips.
WHAT IS A DIETARY SUPPLEMENT?
A dietary supplement can be defined as a vitamin, a mineral, an herb, or a component of our diet, such as an amino acid, that is used to supplement a nutritious diet in some way. Although most supplements are generally taken by mouth, their forms may vary. Dietary supplements can be pills, powders, or liquids, and are typically anything that is ingested to supplement a diet.
WHAT VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS ARE GOOD FOR STRENGTH TRAINING?
People with an active lifestyle have special dietary requirements—and that’s where supplementation and nutrition come into play. Sure, the body needs protein, but you can’t bulk up just by drinking a high-calorie protein shake between meals. The body needs other macronutrients like fat and carbs. In the proper amount, these macronutrients help the body to recover, repair itself, and also help promote lean muscle growth.
The body also needs micronutrients to function at peak performance. Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Many vitamins fight inflammation, support stress levels, and promote immune health. They can also help support muscle size increase. All of this is crucial in your journey toward muscle growth and repair.
Note: over-supplementation and inappropriate use of vitamins and supplements can be dangerous, so be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before adding a supplement regimen to your diet.
Here are the nutrients and vitamins that help with muscle growth, repair, and health:
Vitamin B12 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B12 is a major player in muscle growth. It helps your body produce red blood cells, which are responsible for delivering oxygen to the muscles.
Find it in: fish, dairy, and poultry.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
B3 is popular among pro bodybuilders and fitness models because it’s believed to give you better “pumps” before a photoshoot. It also can promote the metabolism of glucose, increase good cholesterol (while limiting your bad cholesterol), and support healthy hormone production.
Find it in: bananas, eggs, seeds, meats, and fish.
The B vitamin family is important because it can promote red blood cell production and healthy levels of nitric oxide which can support performance and endurance.
Find it in: fatty fish like albacore tuna and salmon, chickpeas, and bananas.
When we exercise, we create oxidative stress (also called free radicals like substances from the environment or toxins that are harmful to our health and can cause chronic illness. Vitamin E undoes some of the damage caused by free radicals.
Find it in: sunflower seeds, almonds, peanut butter, beet greens, and nuts.
The nutrient helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D3 with vitamin K2 work as a team. Vitamin K helps make sure the calcium you do absorb goes to your bones, instead of calcifying your arteries and blood vessels.
Find vitamin D in: fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon, soy milk, beef liver, egg yolk, and cheese.
Find vitamin K in: green leafy vegetables such as collard and turnip greens, kale, spinach, and broccoli.
This vitamin stimulates the production of white blood cells, supports eye health, fights free radicals, and supports healthy, strong bones.
Find it in: eggs, fatty fish, and carrots.
You probably increase your vitamin C intake when you’re coming down with a flu or want to boost your antioxidant levels. But vitamin C can also help repair damaged tissues, which is a big deal when lifting and strength training at the gym.
Find it in: tomatoes, citrus fruits, and leafy greens.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These macronutrients can help reduce muscle soreness and speed up recovery. Omega-3 fatty acids also support cardiovascular, eyes, joint, brain, and skin health.
Find them in foods like: walnuts, eggs, fish like mackerel and sardines, fish oil, and avocados.
Vitamin B2 is known to help with energy production, so it’s a big one for those who want to make big gains at the gym. It’s helpful if you lift because it can reduce soreness after a good workout.
Find it in: trout, beef, dairy, and lamb.
Vitamin B9 (Folate)
Folate is a naturally present B-vitamin important for muscle growth. The synthetic form of B9 is called folic acid — not found in natural food sources.
Find it in: dark green leafy vegetables, brussels sprouts, broccoli, beans, and peanuts.
WHY IS PROTEIN GOOD FOR BODYBUILDING?
It is correct to associate protein with muscle mass, muscle development, and bone density. Protein and the amino acids that build protein make up all the muscle tissue in your body, help you recover, and repair the muscles you tear during exercise and weightlifting.
Consuming amino acids in addition to proteins found in foods is important to muscle health. Your body can manufacture many amino acids, but nine are known as essential amino acids (EAA) because they can’t be made in the body. Instead, you need to eat EAAs in foods like meat, beans, nuts, and soy. The amino acid leucine creates the muscle-building process.
Because bodybuilders have increased lean body mass and burn extra calories working out, they require more protein than people who don’t follow a regular fitness or lifting routine.
The most popular protein supplements are whey, casein, and soy. Casein and whey are both proteins derived from milk, and both contain all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot make on its own.
If you’re looking to bulk up and gain muscle mass, you’ll want to consume one gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight. So, if you weigh 170 pounds, you’ll want to eat 170 grams of protein between food and supplement sources. It’s best for the body to eat the proteins in foods instead of relying solely on supplements.
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, creatine is an essential supplement associated with building maximum muscle mass. Creatine is a high-energy phosphate that helps muscles make a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which provides your body with energy. Although your body naturally produces creatine, supplemental creatine can increase the amount in your muscles. Studies have shown that creatine can improve muscle strength, which allows you to lift more and build more muscle mass.
Protein & Carbs
It’s important to balance your protein intake with the rest of your diet. Along with protein, carbs act as the body’s source of fuel. Both are the primary components in gaining energy, preventing muscle weakness, and degradation. Complex carbs should be a large element in everyone’s meals.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M TAKING THE RIGHT VITAMIN DOSAGE?
If you follow a nutrient-rich diet, you can get all the vitamins and minerals you need, but the best way to find out if dietary supplements are right for you is to consult your healthcare provider. It’s always best to seek the advice from the medical professional who’s familiar with your health history, medications, allergies, and lifestyle.
EōS Fitness offers the N2G line of supplements, known in the industry for including the highest quality ingredients. You can also ask fitness professionals, like Personal Trainers, about the supplements they use and would recommend. EōS Fitness offers this selection of high-quality supplements, including BCAAs, whey protein, and plant protein.
EōS Fitness knows that no two person’s workout goals or bodies are the same, so the team of Personal Trainers is expertly trained to support every type of person. Whether you want to lose weight, bulk up, improve your stamina, or recover from an injury, EōS Personal Trainers can create a plan just for you. Just want to check out the weight room or take a fitness class? Sign up for a Complimentary 7-day Pass today.